Out of control US election spending
January 27, 2016 Leave a comment
Maybe it’s just me or the spending in US politics is out of control.
Here is a perfect example. Sarah Palin, who was the running mate to John McCain in the 2008 elections has her own PAC [political action committee -a group formed to raise and contribute money to the campaigns of candidates likely to advance the group’s interests].
In 2014, her PC received $3.1 million in donations but only 7% went to candidates her PAC was supporting. About the same amount went to administrative travel and lodging, while the bulk went to fundraising. HSP Direct of Ashburn, Virginia received a big chunk of the PAC’s money. The company handles direct-mail appeals and the company’s web site even has Palin’s endorsement.
Of course something like $220,000 given to supporters is a bad return on investors. So about $1.8 million for administrative expenses and to generate donations.
Doesn’t look good this current cycle. Only $25,000 was give out to supporters, $394,000 on fundraising, and about $72,000 for administrative costs [lawyers, accountants, travel, web site upkeep, etc.]. Also paid were three consultants for logistics, fundraising consultant and three [!] speech writers.
If you use the current data above, $460,000 used for administrative purposes, $1.35 million to HSP Direct. So sent HSP Direct $1.35 million to get back $220,000 in donations. Great ratio of return. Not.
As an unelected citizen, accountable to nobody, Palin owes the public no explanation for how she raises and spends her money. In theory, she could pocket the rest. You can therefore say that really anyone can create a PAC.
Of course in the last Presidential election in 2012, the Democratic Party raised $1.072 billion and spend $0.985 billion. The Republican Party raised $0.992 billion and spent just about the same. This excludes the money spent in the primaries and other which lasted a while. Some talk that the last election cost over $4 billion.
In Canada, there is a limit of what a candidate can spend. For example, in the 2011 elections, the Conservative Party received [just] $23 million in individual contributions. [Yes, the US has about 11 times the population of Canada.]
Even with charities in Canada, a small percentage [maybe at most 25%] must be used for administrative expenses with the remainder going to the organization [the reason why there are donations made].